The 2017 Epcot Flower and Garden Festival is in full swing, and the park looks stunning! With gorgeous gardens, spectacular topiaries, food and drinks and so much more, there is something for the whole family to enjoy. I took my 4-year old, Harrison, to the festival today to see what there was for kids to do, and we came away with some great suggestions. If you’re planning to visit the Flower and Garden Festival with kids, then take a look through my list of things to do to keep the little ones entertained.
1. The topiaries
When you enter Epcot, pick up a festival passport. This has all of the information you will need to enjoy the festival, including menus for the food booths, garden locations, and a list of the incredible topiaries. There are 23 topiaries at this years festival and 2017 sees some new additions: Figment over by Spaceship Earth and Cruz from Cars 3 over at the ‘Road to the Florida 500’ garden. The detail that goes into the topiaries is incredible, and Harrison could not get enough of them! His personal favorite was Lightning McQueen, but I fell in love with Bambi, Thumper, and Flower in the Canada Pavilion. See if you can spot all of the 23 topiaries around the festival.
2. The playgrounds
There are three playgrounds as part of the festival, and they are awesome. Does anyone else think Disney parks should have more playgrounds?! They are such an easy way to keep kids busy and entertained! The largest playground, Music Garden Melodies, is on the walkway between the World Showcase and Future World West, and has a smaller area for younger guests, as well as a bigger play net for older kids. There are also some really fun musical instruments to play, including a giant xylophone, and shaded areas with chairs for parents to sit and hang out. Both play structures are covered, and the surface is a fake turf, so nice and soft for trips and falls. Another playground is the desert-themed Road to the Florida 500 over towards Test Track, where the Lightning McQueen and Cruz topiaries can be found. This playground is smaller, and more suited to younger kids. It features a small covered jungle gym, and the flower beds are dotted with auto parts – this playground also has the fake turf surface. The third playground, the Florida Fresh Garden, is located between the Morocco and France pavilions, and features a small jungle gym, as well as some small tunnels to crawl through. This playground is uncovered, so may be a little warm as the weather gets hotter, and features a rubber bark surface. We explored all three playgrounds, and, as much as Harrison loves anything to do with Cars, he voted the Music Garden Melodies playground as his favorite!
3. The Egg hunt
If you’ve visited Epcot during other festivals, you might be familiar with the scavenger hunts they have set up for kids over the last couple of years. The Flower and Garden scavenger hunt is the Egg-stravaganza, where you can search for hidden ‘eggs’ themed to different Disney characters, and record your findings by placing stickers on a map. The maps are available for purchase for $5.99 (plus tax) from a variety of merchandise locations, and when the map is complete, it can be turned in to Disney Traders for a special surprise. Harrison absolutely loved the similar Figment-themed hunt during the Festival of the Arts, and the surprise at the end was actually pretty cool. You don’t even need to complete the map accurately to the get the surprise, so no pressure on little kids to actually find every egg! This is a great way to keep kids occupied as you explore the festival.
4. The food
Does anyone else just go to these Epcot festivals for the food?! I love that all of the Epcot festivals feature food booths now, especially since they are so well suited to the particular festival going on at the time. This year, the Flower and Garden features food booths with an emphasis on fresh ingredients and spring flavors, and there are two new booths this year: The Berry Basket and Northern Bloom. Many of the options are kid-friendly, especially the delicious desserts, and the alcoholic frozen drinks all come in non-alcoholic varieties. Some of our favorites included the Pineapple Soft-Serve Ice Cream at the Pineapple Promenade, the Macaron Chocolat Framboise at Fleur de Lys in France, and the Candied Strawberries at the Lotus House in China.
5. The merchandise
This year’s merchandise is absolutely adorable! There are the usual t-shirts, mugs, and tumblers available, as well as some more unique garden-themed merchandise and products. The print on the tumblers and Christmas ornaments is so cute, and I loved the flower pot shaped mugs. Harrison’s favorite was a flower and garden themed Duffy bear, but we also loved the kid-sized watering cans and garden tools they had for sale.
6. Butterflies on the go garden
This is one of our favorite spots year after year. The butterfly garden is located in Future World, and houses a number of species of butterfly. The garden is enclosed, with mesh chains covering the entrance and exits so the butterflies can’t escape. The butterflies really do fly everywhere, we even saw them land on a few people! There is an interactive display for kids with more information on butterflies, and Harrison loved seeing them up close. We talked about how butterflies grow from caterpillars, and there were Cast Members on hand to answer any questions we had. The garden is sponsored by GoGo SqueeZ and when we exited the garden, they were handing out free pouches of applesauce! This alone made this one of Harrison’s favorite spots!
7. The flowers!
Despite some of the other features of the festival stealing focus a little, flowers are still the main attraction here. The flowers really do look beautiful in the Florida sun, and I love that there is such a focus on educating people about gardening, and what they can do on their own. We loved the Backyard Habitat garden, where a Cast Member showed Harrison what he could plant and grow in his own backyard, and he came home inspired and excited to start growing things for himself.
For more information, visit the festival’s official website.
Are you planning to visit the Epcot Flower and Garden Festival this year? What are you most excited for? Let me know in the comments!